Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Risks for Pets at Halloween

Halloween can be a fun time, but it is not always fun for our pets.  There are many risks and dangers to our cats and dogs at this time of year.  Know the concerns and follow these Halloween safety tips for your pets to ensure that everyone has a happy and safe Halloween.

1.  Poisons.  Chocolate and other candies can be toxic to cats, dogs, and even pet birds.  Cats are less likely to eat things not meant for them, but dogs will swallow something they think is food without much thought.  A dropped chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) can be fatal to a small dog.  Xylitol is a sweetener used in many candies and is also toxic to dogs, birds, and possibly cats as well.

2.  Confusion/Stress.  Halloween is "different" than the normal routine and this can cause stress in some pets.  Some pets will get upset at kids coming to the door and constantly ringing the doorbell or calling out.  Additionally with the door opening and shutting so often a pet is likely to run outside.  In many cases it is best to keep a pet in a different room for the night so it does not get upset.  A baby gate can be put at the front door to prevent a small dog from bolting outside or lunging at children.

3.  If the Dog Goes Trick Or Treating...  Of course some people like to take their dog trick or treating.  It is important that the dog have a collar and leash.  The collar should have identification tags in case the dog gets away.  Remember the dog might be frightened, confused, or excited, by the events of the night, so only a well trained, and socialized, dog should go out on Halloween.  If the dog is going to be wearing a costume, test it out with the costume prior.  The leash should be reflective, and kept short.  Again, watch the dog so it does not try to eat any dropped candy.

4.  Fireworks.  Many pets get lost in areas due to fireworks shows.  It is best not to take dogs to such shows.  Dogs, and cats, who are left outside in areas where fireworks are being set off have been known to run away having been frightened by the noise.

5.  Candles.  Pumpkins with lit candles should be placed carefully where pets cannot knock them over.

6.  Pet Concerns Prior to Halloween.  All pets are at risk from pranksters prior to October 31, however black cats are particularly at risk.  People have been known to steal black cats and have them at Halloween parties as "decorations", and discard them afterwards.  As such all pets should be supervised in the weeks leading up to this holiday.  People should be especially cautious about giving away "free pets" at this time of year as well.

Other Reading

Advice for Pets Concerned About Halloween
Facts About Halloween (hint it was not about animal sacrifice, or devil worship)


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  2. It's also a good time to pair positive associations with outfits or things dogs are not comfortable with.
    Wag and Walk